A dog escaping its yard to bite a five-year-old boy in Crawfordville, Fla., is a serious reminder of the need to be aware of the fact that dogs can sometimes attack unexpectedly.
The five-year-old boy was on a swing in his neighbor’s yard on May 18 when a labrador retriever broke through an electrical dog fence and escaped from its yard. The dog bit the boy and caused cuts to on his arm and ears, requiring an overnight stay at the hospital.
The week of May 17-23 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report that small children, the elderly, and Postal Service carriers — in that order — are the most frequent victims of dog bites.
Of the 4.5 million people bitten every year, more than half are kids, said Dr. Jose Arce, an American Veterinary Medical Association board member. The American Veterinary Medical Association is using National Dog Bite Prevention Week to educate how families can keep children and the elderly safe from dogs who might attack them.
What You Should Not Do Around Dogs
- Stare into a dog’s eyes.
- Tease a dog.
- Approach one that’s chained up or injured.
- Touch a dog you don’t know that’s off a leash.
- Run or scream if one charges.
- Play with a dog while it’s eating.
- Touch one while it’s sleeping.
- Get close to one that’s nursing puppies.
- Leave a small child alone with a dog, even if it’s the family pet.
Tips to Stay Safe Around Dogs
- Ask an owner before petting a dog you don’t know.
- Let the dog sniff your closed fist before touching it.
- Freeze if a dog runs toward you until it leaves. You can also say, “No”, “Get Back” or “Go Home” and then slowly back up.
- Socialize puppies so they are comfortable around people and other animals.
- Use a leash in public.
- If you use a fence to keep your dog in its yard, make sure the fence is secure and regularly check to make sure invisible fences’ batteries are charged.
How Parents Can Help
- When the mail arrives, place your pet in a closed room so it can’t go through a window or screen door to possibly attack the carrier. Tell children not to take mail from the carrier in front of the dog because the animal could see it as threatening.
- Also, teach children to treat dogs with respect and avoid rough or aggressive play. Do not allow children to hit dogs or cats.
- If a dog bites your child, clean small wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention for larger wounds. Contact the dog’s veterinarian to check vaccination records.
Kelly Voigt, who was attacked by a dog as a child, started an educational campaign called Prevent The Bite in which she educates kids about how to avoid dog bites. In this video, she explains the W-A-I-T acronym, which stands for Wait – Ask – Invite – Touch.
After she was bitten by a dog as a child, Kelly Voigt started a program to teach children how to behave more safely around dogs.
Posted by American Academy of Pediatrics on Wednesday, May 21, 2014